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AAA Texas urges New Year's Eve participants to plan ahead

AAA Texas urges New Year's Eve participants to plan ahead
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Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - 5:04pm

If you plan to drink, plan not to drive

AAA Texas is urging those that celebrate on New Year's Eve with family and friends to plan for a safe evening ahead of time.

If you plan to drink, plan not to drive.

Drivers should designate a non-drinking sober driver, call for a cab, or plan for an overnight stay wherever they go to ring in the New Year.

As a last resort, AAA Texas will offer its free Tipsy Tow program during the holiday to prevent drunk drivers form being on the road.

 Tipsy Tow will be available from 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 until 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 1, 2014.

Motorists, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts, or passengers of a drinking driver may call 1-800-222-4357 or 1-800-AAA-HELP for a free tow home of up to 10 miles.

Callers can simply tell AAA Texas operators, "I need a Tipsy Tow," to receive the free tow and ride home. A regular AAA Texas-contracted roadside service truck will be dispatched. 

Drivers can expect to pay the rate charged by the tow truck contractor for rides farther than 10 miles.

The passenger and tow truck driver should agree in advance what the excess mileage charges will be and the method of payment, prior to providing the tow.

Callers need to keep in mind the service excludes rides for passengers, is restricted to a one-way, one-time rider for the driver and the destination is limited to the driver's residence. Reservations are also not accepted.

Many motorists who have not had too much to drink have said reasons they don't use alternate transportation is because of cab costs or inconvenience of having to retrieve their car the next day.

Tipsy Tow's service is unique in that it transports both the driver and their vehicle. You don't have to be a AAA member to use this free service.

According to the latest data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in five of all licensed drivers, that drink at least occasionally, reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.

People convicted of driving under the influence could lose their family, job, money, and dignity. 

According to TxDOT and law enforcement agencies, it could cost a person between $13,000 to $24,000 in fines, legal fees, higher insurance rates, lost wages, substance abuse programs, or court required alcohol treatment if convicted of DWI or DUI.

AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic related crashes and the injuries that can result from it.

AAA Texas offers these additional DWI prevention tips:

  • At social events, designate non-drinking drivers who can get everyone home safely.
  • Do not serve alcohol to anyone under age 21.
  • Call a friend or family member for a ride home if you’ve been drinking.
  • Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
  • Keep a cab company telephone number in your wallet so you can call for a ride home.
  • As a party host and good friend or loving family member, offer a variety of non-alcoholic drink alternatives, serve food as well as dessert and coffee, and provide a gift to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers.
  • Have a back up plan to spend the night at the party instead of driving home under the influence.
  • Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink.

If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 9-11.

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